Friday, July 23, 2010

A Punk's Portrait, a proud parent and a persuasive proclaimation!

Well as I write this I am beyond exhaustion at midnight Friday night, our fifth day, but I may not have access to the computer again for awhile so I’ll press on. (But just before the stroke of 12……HAPPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!!!! Can’t believe we are not with you on your 19th birthday but hey, you were invited! Lol! I hope you had a very fun day!)

I LOVE Berlin!. I have never felt so excited about a city before. I told Ramona, our Christian intern, guide and now friend, that it’s like people just gave a box of crayons to some kids and said, color me a city!!!!

There are random murals next to 13th century gothic cathedrals. Crazy colors and designs on every building and on every person!!!

As we were meeting people on our secong day at Alexander Platz, I was very drawn to a young man with pink and blue hair named Sebastian. My husband and I were witnessing to him and to our amazement he was open to talking. He told us he was “spiritualbut not into anything but Buddhism. After much discussion, we were about to get into thewell if you are right, no problem, but if we are right…..there is a major problem”. But at this point Sebastian’s “friendthrew a beer on our friend Steve and that was the end of that (although Steve handled it with much compassion and love) our window of opportunity was closed.

So the next day, at thehippie park” Boxhaganer, I painted a portrait of Sebastian while others were witnessing. I painted him on his knees with his hand on his heart and chains broken off of his ankle. I guess I was just sad that this boy who was so obviouslyworldly” was in reality just a broken 13 year old boy inside. I met a man named Mario who asked for prayer, after discussing my portrait, for his friend Peter. Apparently Mario was mixed up in drugs and his friend had an overdose and Mario did not. After that, he got involved in Narcotics Anonymous and found God.

What really surprised me was that on our way to eat the following day, I spotted Bastion! He was miles away from where we had originally seen him. In front of a church that dates to the 1200s, this punk kid saw his portrait! I was able to pull the portrait out and show him.
He was so psyched! The boy who was with him was delighted to pose for a picture (this was the same boy who had thrown a beer on my friend Steve as he preached!) There was no anger, just excitement, as he looked at the portrait. I think he was touched that I had thought enough of him to paint him and when I told him thatGod Loved Him”! I know he heard me. The rest is up to God!

Yanira is a YouTube star. And God is still in the miracle business.

Sorry Folks! Because of the crazy Internet connection here at Genadenhaus, I have to only list a link from YouTube. But this lady is amazing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day Three: School Days!

All I can say about day three is that we got schooled. We started in East Berlin in a place called Jerusalem Church. This is a house that was owned by a German Jew who died and left it to the country of Israel. Eventually it became a home church. So we sat in a circle in the basement and prayed for the people of East Berlin. It felt like I imagined the Jews must have looked at the time that they were being arrested and deported to camps. It kind of felt that way anyway.

We finally got to experience the pride of Berliners: curry wurst. All I have heard about this German delicacy is that it is a staple of all who live in this city. Filled with culinary anticipation, we went to a sidewalk café and ordered some. What a disappointment. Imagine a sausage that has the consistency of a Great Value brat from Wal-Mart. Than see it getting cut into pieces, smothered with ketchup, and sprinkled with a little curry powder. Totally underwhelming! We actually had better sausages at the Black Forest café on Northwest Highway in Dallas.

The two stories I want to leave you with in the limited time I have are as follows:

1. While we were at a square a man on crutches came up to me and said that he had some demons that needed to be cast. He was a German who spoke fairly good English because he spent some time at a Bible college in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He talked a lot about being scammed by so called ministers in America who were only out for his money. He is a man of serious means. Unfortunately, we were getting ready to leave to head over to the infamous Alexanderplatz. So we asked him if he wanted to go with us. He did. Ask us for details because this story is going to absolutely knock your socks off. All I can say is that the story ended with a mime being chased, a financial prayer being answered, Italians being astounded, and shouting in the square. This was the first series of shouts in the square. The second was of a different nature soon after.

2. There are no words I can write about the punk culture in Alexanderplatz that you will believe, so I won’t even try. Unfortunately our notoriously slow Internet connection won’t let ius upload pictures or any of the hours of amazing video footage we have shot. I’ll try to get to an Internet café soon and get ‘er done. But we spent some time getting right smack in the middle of their world. And to steal a line “it was the best of times and the worst of times”. It ended with getting spit on, doused in beer, pelted with any object that they could throw, and chased from the square. Alexanderplatz is a definite stronghold of a Reich that is still very much alive; at least spiritually anyway. But I firmly believe that before we leave here this Reich will fall. It is only day there after all.

To all of you who supported this trip financially, know that you have invested your money wisely. Time and bad Internet keep me from telling tales of how amazing this trip has been so far. And those who wish you had contributed, it’s not too late. You are being a part of something that I haven’t dreamed possible. It seems like we have been here for years. And there is still 10 days to go. Game face on and marching toward the goal.

Steve Foss

Day 2 pics

This is the exact spot where the Bourne Supremacy was filmed. Here is Matt Damon jumping on a river barge.

Slow Children and the shattered myths

I apologize for having to write about day two events on the morning of the third day. But yesterday was a very long and hard day both physically and emotionally. There is an eighties new wave band named Slow Children that sang a great song which has been stuck in my head for days titledEast Berlin By Rail”. And as I sit here by an open window feeling the cool German air wafting through this room and thinking about what to write of yesterday’s events, the song will probably be stuck there for quite a bit longer.

Our day began with an amazing session with a German pastor here named Kristoph. For time’s sake I’ll spare you the details. But suffice it to say that he isthe real deal”. He embodies everything that the American church lacks. The discussion we had with him was nothing short of life changing for me. And I’ll go into more detail on another blog post. Our trip into downtown Berlin through the train system is always an adventure. Rubbing shoulders with such an enigmatic people is like Forrest Gump’s “box of chocolates”. You never know what you are about to get. Encounters with a wheel chaired dwarf named Sven, a hardened man with karate supplies, various people with very Satanic body art, and curious Berliners who try to stealthily eavesdrop on our English conversations make the rides seem short.

East Berlin! I’m not sure what to write. I had always heard that it is the worst part of Berlin due to the fact that it is gray and ominous. My illusions were completely shattered yesterday. There are now only two cities in this world that I can say are utterly remarkable. Granted, I have been in some very interesting cities; London, Los Angeles, Paris, etc. But only Moscow and East Berlin had me walking the streets literally amazed at the beauty and strangeness. East Berlin is gorgeous, weird and wonderful, spiritually dead, unique, and a place I could see myself living. Now rebuilt, it is a haven for all the artsy types, socially lost people, and young success mongers. I’ll go into more details later and try to get lots of video up to YouTube today. The place where Ann Frank lived and was deported is nothing short of surprising. Yes, she is known for hiding in Holland. But few know that she was a Berliner before her famous exploits in the dairy. And ask us about the stumbling blocks embedded into the streets.

And I’ll also go into more details about our visit to the Holocaust Museum. All I can say is that I became so overwhelmed that I felt the need to run as far and as fast from that place as possible. Yes, I’ve seen all the movies on that subject. And yes I’ve been a little choked up with each viewing. But to somehow make that event personal is like getting hit in the heart with a bullet. This place makes it real because you now see these victims as real people with real lives. And yes, their energy and spirits still seem to cry out from beyond the graves for justice. Even now I start to tear up as I type this. So let’s move on.

The day’s expanded highlights including finding the best food on the planet in a local Mc Donald’s. See the video. And it ended with an unbelievably great time in Karl’s home church. I met Karl in America when he came here seeing the country. We became friends at Babe’s Chicken Restaurant in Carrollton. And we became brothers in arms last night in his living room. His home church is a group of Christians who are definitely situated right in the heart of the battle zone. One would never know that his modern home complete with stylish furniture and quaint garden is located in East Berlin about 400 yards from where the wall was. They needed encouragement. And God used us to supply it in abundance. And for that honor I am truly thankful. I must go. I promise I’ll write more tonight.

This trip seems like it has been a decade long. But this is only day three. Einstein was right about his theories on time.

Steve Foss

Monday, July 19, 2010

This is what happens when one person gets exhausted and another gets goofy!

More Day 1

Day 1 City Square Berlin

Eric addresses the crowd concerning creation.

Brenda draws a crowd doing her artwork.

War movie déjà vu’ and the love of tarmac.

The landing in Holland was a thing to behold. We came in so hot that I thought we were going to overshoot the entire country. The pilot landed the enormous plane like a feather with the skill of a surgeon. Schipol airport is just like one would expect from a Dutch airport. Be sure to see the team video we shot inside. We had to speed walk to our departure gate which was 80 gates away. But we managed to make it on time thanks to people moving walkways on all concourses.

Flying over Holland and Germany showed that we Americans are light years behind Europe in terms of clean energy. Both countries have thousands of wind powered turbines dotting the landscape. We also cruised over a massive array of solar panels as we approached Berlin. They are a very green people. The flight took us over some very beautiful countryside. As we flew over Bremen, I had a déjà vu’ experience from all the war documentaries I have watched over the years. The old films of allied bombers flying over the identical countryside dropping payloads of bombs took me back to another time. What an interesting history this land has.

Landing in Berlin was a different story than the one in Amsterdam. Just like my last visit to Germany, we were dropped off on the tarmac and shuttled in to the dirty run down terminal via a crowded bus. Customs? We could have walked in with a case of weapons grade plutonium and nobody would have even noticed. So since the rest of our team was on another flight, we waited in the airport and people watched. I won’t even comment on all the Euro-men in Capri pants, or how low a priority personal hygiene is to many Euro-travelers.

Steve Foss

Team checking in Dutch style!

Here we are in Holland.

Godzilla, the princess, and seat 37D

Greetings from Coventry, England. OK, so we are actually more than 37,000 feet above England having just crossed over Ireland on our way to Amsterdam. We are now over 7 hours into this trip and our bodies are staring to revolt. Outside the window of this amazing Airbus plane the sun is shining and the day is in full swing. But to our bodies, it is about midnight and time to go to sleep. We are seriously jet lagging!

The day started with a great service at church where the congregation sent us away with a prayer of blessing. We had our final American dinner of Spring Creek barbecue and headed to the airport. The check in and loading went off without a hitch. And we now know that KLM airlines might be one of the best airlines in the world. The food is amazing for airplane food. And the service from the staff is first rate. And then there is Godzilla. One of the flight attendants is freakishly large for a woman who makes her living on an airplane. Jayne disagrees. But picture a woman pushing a beverage cart through Tokyo knocking down power lines and destroying buildings, and you will have a picture of her aisle. Think of the movieAttack of the 50 Foot Woman”.

There is a princess a few rows ahead of me. Sofia Brown (one of the children on our team) left Dallas as a five year old and sits with her seat in it’s upright position as a new six year old. Today is her birthday, and she is spending it looking out the window at an orange sunrise bathing purple clouds. She is donning a pointed princess hat with streamers. We all have party hats to wear which arouses curious stares from the other passengers on the plane.

My seat is mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno”. I say that because it is maybe the lowest level of hell. Imagine a 6’ 5”, 280 pound man crammed into a seat designed for a skinny European. Then add to the mix the lady in front of me with her seat fully reclined. I am bent like a pretzel in ways that would make Richard Simmons and Indian yogis proud. I must admit I occasionally nudge the seat a little just to send her a not so subtle message. God please forgive me.

We are on approach to Holland. So I must go. We have an hour layover at Schipol and then on to Berlin. Eyes are burning but stomach is full and happy. Jayne literally spoke to the laptop sayinghi”. I don’t think she knows you can’t hear her. God I love that woman. On to the land of tulips and windmills.

Steve Foss